The other evening I was working at my computer with my best friend’s little girl playing in my office and keeping me company. I walked away for a minute and came back to find Clara gleefully sitting on my chair. (If you look closely at my messy desk, you’ll see some flowers by the water bottle that Clara brought me.)
I asked Clara if she wanted to be a writer like me when she grew up, and she quickly shook her head no. Despite that claim, she throughly enjoyed sitting on my lap for the next while, and even typed some when I was composing an email. I was rather amazed at how long she stayed happy without me doing anything special to keep her attention.
Some of my earliest memories revolve around books, something that I think helped me develop my absolute delight of words and stories. Before Clara was born, I gave her parents a whole stack of my favorite childhood books, hoping she’d grow up with at least some bookworm tendencies. Every so often Clara’s mama will send me pictures of Clara “reading” those books, which of course fills me with joy.
Reading is such an important part of life, and it thrills me when parents (or older siblings, cousins, etc…), work at cultivating a love for reading in young children. So much wisdom and information can be gleaned through books. Instead of having to learning mostly from our own mistakes, books give us the ability to learn through other’s mistakes. Books can take us to far away countries. To explore the minds of the writers. To other cultures. To deeper levels of knowledge.
Books can be used as tools that help shape our lives into who we’re supposed to be. They can help us understand people who have gone through tough times. They can help prepare us for our own tough times. Books can teach us simple things like how to make mashed potatoes, and incredibly fantastic things like how God loves us and has a plan for our lives.
There’s a quote that says that people who don’t read are no better off than people who can’t read. I think it’s more accurate to say that people who don’t read are worse off than those who can’t, because the ones who can read, but don’t, are making the choice not to grow in that area. Studies have shown that people who read long books regularly generally have longer attention spans, and that’s actually pretty important.
All this to say, if you have children in your life, related to you or not, then why not take some time to read to them? Or at least buy them a book, and hopefully cultivate a love for reading in them at a young age. It’s one of those gifts that keeps on giving. (I know, so cliché, right?)
* * *
What about you? Do you remember reading (or being read to), as a young child? I’d be delighted to hear your memories.
I just remembered this picture from back when Clara was just a couple of days old. Hum…I guess she was bound to enjoy typing and words to at least some degree with this early introduction to the world of writing.
Maybe some day in the far distant future she’ll do a guest post on Noveltea, or perhaps write a few short stories. 🙂